Certificate in Spiritual Direction, Formation, and World Engagement

“I’ve learned. I’ve grown. I have new insight. I have a new way of seeing things and seeing myself, as I seek to be of service to others.”
—Jeralyn Major, DASD Student

SFTS is happy to offer a certificate in spiritual direction based in the art of contemplative listening but open to people with a wide range of interests. Traditionally, spiritual directors were simply people perceived to be wise in the ways of spirit and compassionate toward others. We believe that good spiritual direction is rooted in deep and stable spiritual practice. Training in spiritual direction occurs therefore in the context of contemplative retreats. Study, reading, and practice in community provide a rhythm which encourages rootedness in spiritual discipline, even as one trains in the arts of listening, discernment, and basic knowledge of spiritual direction.

Spiritual direction also requires practice of attentive listening - holy listening – to others on their faith journey. Participants will practice spiritual direction in several contexts under the supervision of experienced directors. This focus on supervised practice is a distinctive strength of the program at SFTS.

The focus on spiritual formation, practice, and attention to compassion and justice are distinctive marks of a Certificate in the Art of Spiritual Direction through SFTS. We encourage participants who expect to engage Christian ministries as well as activists and members of other spiritual traditions.

Program Requirements

The foundational retreat toward a certificate is “The Art of Contemplative Listening” which offers training in “open-hearted listening:” listening from the heart, attending to the heart of others, seeking the heart of the matter. Through study and practice, participants will explore elements of deep listening.

Those who are intending to practice spiritual direction will take the following retreat modules:

  • Foundations of Spiritual Direction
  • Discernment
  • One elective

Participants wishing to focus on spiritual formation or activism will take three additional retreats focused on their vocational interests. Participation in one Collaborative Seminar through the Center for Innovation in Ministry can count toward the three electives.

Between retreats participants will:

  • Be in spiritual direction
  • Participate in an online community offering further study and support
  • Work through a required set of readings and turn in short reflection papers on the readings
  • Practice contemplative listening with a designated spiritual companion or friend, meeting at least once a month for an hour for this purpose.
  • Locate supervised practicum (see below)


For more information, please contact:

Dr. Wendy Farley, Director, Program in Christian Spirituality
Rice Family Chair in Spirituality

Apply Today!
The SFTS Program in Christian Spirituality was one of first to offer spiritual direction training in a Protestant seminary. It presents a ground-breaking approach to spirituality that combines head and heart, prayer and public witness, ancient practices and contemporary experimentation across many faith traditions. Congratulations to the program, which celebrated its 20th Diploma in the Art of Spiritual Direction graduating class in 2016.